By AVALON SALVADORE and KAT SUTOW
“I like to think the best way to own a business is to lead by example.”
Gerrards Market on W. Cypress Ave in Redlands CA is known by its motto “Big enough to serve you…Small enough to care!” (Kat Sutow / Ethic Photo)
The interior of Gerrards Market is characterized by an overall small-store feel as the establishment is dedicated to serving its community in an open and welcoming manner. (Kat Sutow/Ethic Photo).
Gerrards Market is a local grocery store in Redlands, California that opened its doors for service 90 years ago. This quaint little shop provides Redlanders with an all-inclusive big name grocery store feel while still supplying all the charm of a mom-and-pop shop. Tom Reingover has been the owner of the store for the last 20 years; his major focus is to help support his local community and other local businesses. In this grocery store you can find products and merchandise that you can’t find in your local Stater Brothers or Vons alongside all your regular necessities. When you think of a store owner, you tend to imagine an individual constantly working behind the scenes; this description does not fit Reingover however. His hands-on involvement and everyday work not only grows the business itself, but builds Gerrards Market’s special brand of originality. “I like to think the best way to own a business is to lead by example,” said Reingover when asked why he is so involved in the store’s day-to-day operations. Gerrards Market is just one of many local businesses in Redlands but its uniqueness stems from the fact that it offers all of Redlands within its walls as it provides the community with a way to buy their neighbors’ products at an affordable price.
Ethic News sat down with Reingover to further discuss his business and its impact on the Redlands community.
Q Why did you decide to buy or own the store?
A “I worked for a major supermarket chain for 25 years; it was a big corporation and I decided I wanted to do my own thing.”
Q Why do you focus so heavily on Redlands?
A “We try to do what chain stores don’t do. Chain stores can’t really focus on local communities like independent stores can, so I try to focus on the independent small businesses in town that I can support. It’s fun and makes us unique.”
Q What is the one thing that people should come here for? What makes this store special?
A “It’s not just one thing; it’s hundreds of things you know? But the short answer is that we support the local community. We do so many things, and we have so many things that you can’t find anywhere else. Unique products, high quality merchandise, but primarily the reason you should come is because we offer products and services that nobody else in town offers.”
Q What is your favorite part of the store?
A “My favorite part of the store would be the whole store. If I had to pick one thing it would be the local products. I love to do the local thing and support the local businesses.”
Q Could you tell me some of the history of the store?
A “The gentleman that started the company was a fellow by the name of A.C. Gerrard; he started it and ran it for years. He started it in 1930 and then his son, Paul Gerrard, took it over and he ran it for 50 years. I purchased the store in 1999 from Paul Gerrard and the original family, so I’ve had it for the last 20 years.”
Q A little more about you?
A “I started bagging groceries when I was 16 years old at Stater Bros. and I worked my way up. When I left after 25 years I was the President of Marketing for Staters Bros.”
Q Why do you focus so much on small businesses?
A “One reason is that I’m looking for unique products that the customer can’t find anywhere else.”
Q Could you tell me more about the coffee and juice bar that you just opened?
A “I’m trying to offer something that the chains stores can’t. For the most part, nobody’s doing what I’m doing here. Yes, we have coffee but we also have a full line of smoothies; we have a full line of acai bowls, and we have a full line of fresh juices. We also have homemade sandwiches.”
Q You guys are running it all yourselves?
A “That’s right.”
Q How do you get these ideas for everything in your store? A “I actually go all over. I go to food shows; I went to the San Francisco food show last weekend and the Chicago food show and one in New York to get products for unique stuff. I also rent a car and look at the grocery stores.”